AJAX Basics by adeel109


									Introduction to Ajax

Sang Shin
Java Technology Architect
Sun Microsystems, Inc.
1.What is Rich User Experience?
2.Rich Internet Application (RIA) Technologies
3.AJAX: Real-life examples & Usage cases
4.What is and Why AJAX?
5.Technologies used in AJAX
6.Anatomy of AJAX operation
7.XMLHttpRequest Methods & Properties
8.DOM APIs & InnerHTML
9.AJAX Security
10.JavaScript debugging tools
Topics Covered in Other Presentations
• AJAX Toolkits & Frameworks
• JSON (JavaScript Object Notation)
• Dojo Toolkit
• DWR (Direct Web Remoting)
• AJAX-enabled JSF Components
• Google Web Toolkit (GWT)
• jMaki
• Phobos (MVC-based server-side scripting)
• Ajax and Portlet/Portal
• Wicket and Shale (as AJAX-aware Web applicaion
• JavaScript Programming Best Practices            3
1. Rich User Experience
   for Web Application
Rich User Experience
• Take a look at a typical desktop application
  (Spreadsheet app, etc.)
• The program responses intuitively and quickly
• The program gives a user meaningful feedback's
  > A cell in a spreadsheet changes color when you hover your
    mouse over it
  > Icons light up as mouse hovers them
• Things happen naturally
  > No need to click a button or a link to trigger an event
Characteristics of Conventional Web
Applications (Apps without Ajax)

• “Click, wait, and refresh” user interaction
  > Any communication with the server forces a page refresh
• Synchronous “request/response” communication
  > The user has to wait for the response
• Page-driven: Workflow is based on pages
  > Page-navigation logic is determined by the server

Issues of Conventional Web Application
• Interruption of user operation
  > Users cannot perform any operation while waiting for a response
• Loss of operational context during refresh
  > Loss of information on the screen
  > Loss of scrolled position
• No instant feedback's to user activities
  > A user has to wait for the next page
• Constrained by HTML
  > Lack of useful widgets

These are the reasons why Rich Internet Application (RIA)
  technologies were born.                               7
 2. Rich Internet
Application (RIA)
Rich Internet Application (RIA)
•   Applet
•   Macromedia Flash/Air
•   Java WebStart
•   DHTML with Hidden IFrame
•   Ajax
•   Sliverlight (Windows only)
•   JavaFX (Java Platform)
• Pros:
  > Can use full Java APIs
  > Custom data streaming, graphic manipulation, threading, and
    advanced GUIs
  > Well-established scheme
• Cons:
  > Code downloading time could be significant
  > Reliability concern - a mal-functioning applet can crash a
• There is renewed interest in applet, however, as a
  RIA technology with Java SE 10 Update 10
  > Solves old applet problems
Macromedia Flash
• Designed for playing interactive movies originally
• Programmed with ActionScript
• Implementation examples
  > Macromedia Flex
  > Laszlo suite (open source)
• Pros:
  > Good for displaying vector graphics
• Cons:
  > Browser needs a Flash plug-in
  > ActionScript is proprietary
Java WebStart
• Desktop application delivered over the net
  > Leverages the strengths of desktop apps and applet
• Pros
  >   Desktop experience once loaded
  >   Leverages Java technology to its fullest extent
  >   Disconnected operation is possible
  >   Application can be digitally signed
  >   Incremental redeployment
• Cons
  > Old JRE-based system do not work
  > First-time download time could be still significant
DHTML (Dynamic HTML)
• DHTML = JavaScript + DOM + CSS
• Used for creating interactive applications
• No asynchronous communication, however
  > Full page refresh still required
  > Reason why it has only a limited success

DHTML with Hidden IFrame

• IFrame was introduced as a programmable layout to
  a web page
  > An IFrame is represented as an element of a DOM tree
  > You can move it, resize it, even hide it while the page is
• An hidden IFrame can add asynchronous behavior
  > The visible user experience is uninterrupted – operational
     context is not lost
• It is still a hack

• DHTML plus Asynchronous communication
  capability through XMLHttpRequest
• Pros
  >   Emerges as a viable RIA technology
  >   Good industry momentum
  >   Several toolkits and frameworks are emerging
  >   No need to download code & no plug-in required
• Cons
  > Still some browser incompatibility
  > JavaScript is hard to maintain and debug
• AJAX-enabled JSF components will help
3. AJAX:
Real-life Examples &
Real-Life Examples of AJAX Apps
• Google maps
  > http://maps.google.com/
• Goolgle Suggest
  > http://www.google.com/webhp?complete=1&hl=en
• NetFlix
  > http://www.netflix.com/BrowseSelection?lnkctr=nmhbs
• Gmail
  > http://gmail.com/
• Yahoo Maps (new)
  > http://maps.yahoo.com/
• Many more are popping everywhere                        17
AJAX: Demo
Google Maps,
Yahoo Maps New
Key Aspects of Google Maps

• A user can drag the entire map by using the mouse
  > Instead of clicking on a button or something
  > The action that triggers the download of new map data is not
    a specific click on a link but a moving the map around with a
• Behind the scene - AJAX is used
  > The map data is requested and downloaded asynchronously
    in the background
• Other parts of the page remains the same
  > No loss of operational context

Usage cases for AJAX
• Real-time server-side input form data validation
  > User IDs, serial numbers, postal codes
  > Removes the need to have validation logic at both client side
    for user responsiveness and at server side for security and
    other reasons
• Auto-completion
  > Email address, name, or city name may be auto-completed as
    the user types
• Master detail operation
  > Based on a user selection, more detailed information can be
    fetched and displayed
Usage cases for AJAX
• Advanced GUI widgets and controls
  > Controls such as tree controls, menus, and progress bars
    may be provided that do not require page refreshes
• Refreshing data
  > HTML pages may poll data from a server for up-to-date data
    such as scores, stock quotes, weather, or application-specific

Demo: AJAX Sample Apps

Demo Scenario

• Run sample AJAX applications within NetBeans IDE
  > Auto completion
  > Data validation
  > Progress bar
• You can try this demo yourself
  > These applications are provided as part of the hands-on lab.
  > www.javapassion.com/handsonlabs/4257_ajaxbasics2.zip

4. AJAX:
What is and Why AJAX?
• Intuitive and natural user interaction
  > No clicking required
  > Mouse movement is a sufficient event trigger
• "Partial screen update" replaces the "click, wait, and
  refresh" user interaction model
  > Only user interface elements that contain new information are
    updated asynchronously (no interruption to user operation)
  > The rest of the user interface remains displayed without
    interruption (no loss of operational context)
• Data-driven (as opposed to page-driven)
  > UI is handled in the client while the server provides data
• Asynchronous communication replaces
  "synchronous request/response model."
  > A user can continue to use the application while the client
    program requests information from the server in the
  > Separation of displaying from data fetching

Interrupted user
operation while
the data is being

user operation
while data is
being fetched

5. AJAX:
Technologies Used
Technologies Used In AJAX
• Javascript
  > Loosely typed scripting language
  > JavaScript function is called when an event in a page occurs
  > Glue for the whole AJAX operation
  > Represents the structure of XML and HTML documents
  > API for accessing and manipulating structured documents
  > Allows for a clear separation of the presentation style from the
    content and may be changed programmatically by JavaScript
• XMLHttpRequest
  > JavaScript object that performs asynchronous interaction with the
    server                                                              30
• JavaScript object
• Adopted by modern browsers
  > Mozilla™, Firefox, Safari, and Opera
• Communicates with a server via standard HTTP
• XMLHttpRequest object works in the background for
  performing asynchronous communication with the
  backend server
  > Does not interrupt user operation

Server-Side AJAX Request
• Server programming model remains the same
  > It receives standard HTTP GETs/POSTs
  > Can use Servlet, JSP, JSF, whatever web technologies...
• With minor caveats
  > Could have more frequent and finer-grained requests from
    clients (design issue)
  > Response content type can be
     > text/xml
     > text/plain
     > text/json
     > text/javascript
6. AJAX: Anatomy Of
AJAX Interaction
using “Data Validation”
Sample Application
Anatomy of an AJAX Interaction
(Data Validation Example)

Steps of AJAX Operation
1.A client event occurs
2.An XMLHttpRequest object is created
3.The XMLHttpRequest object is configured
4.The XMLHttpRequest object makes an async. request
5.The ValidateServlet returns an XML document
  containing the result
6.The XMLHttpRequest object calls the callback() function
  and processes the result
7.The HTML DOM is updated
1. A Client event occurs
• A JavaScript function is called as the result of an
• Example: validateUserId() JavaScript function is
  mapped as a event handler to a onkeyup event on
  input form field whose id is set to “userid”

  <input type="text"
2. An XMLHttpRequest object is
var req;
function initRequest() {
   if (window.XMLHttpRequest) {
       req = new XMLHttpRequest();
   } else if (window.ActiveXObject) {
       isIE = true;
       req = new ActiveXObject("Microsoft.XMLHTTP");
function validateUserId() {
   req.onreadystatechange = processRequest;
   if (!target) target = document.getElementById("userid");
   var url = "validate?id=" + escape(target.value);
   req.open("GET", url, true);
}                                                             37
3. An XMLHttpRequest object is
configured with a callback function
var req;
function initRequest() {
   if (window.XMLHttpRequest) {
       req = new XMLHttpRequest();
   } else if (window.ActiveXObject) {
       isIE = true;
       req = new ActiveXObject("Microsoft.XMLHTTP");
function validateUserId() {
   req.onreadystatechange = processRequest; // callback function
   if (!target) target = document.getElementById("userid");
   var url = "validate?id=" + escape(target.value);
   req.open("GET", url, true);
}                                                                  38
4. XMLHttpRequest object makes an async.
function initRequest() {
   if (window.XMLHttpRequest) {
       req = new XMLHttpRequest();
   } else if (window.ActiveXObject) {
       isIE = true;
       req = new ActiveXObject("Microsoft.XMLHTTP");
function validateUserId() {
   req.onreadystatechange = processRequest;
   if (!target) target = document.getElementById("userid");
   var url = "validate?id=" + escape(target.value);
   req.open("GET", url, true);
• URL is set to validate?id=greg                              39
5. The ValidateServlet returns an XML
document containing the results (Server)

 public void doGet(HttpServletRequest request, HttpServletResponse response)
    throws IOException, ServletException {
  String targetId = request.getParameter("id");
  if ((targetId != null) && !accounts.containsKey(targetId.trim())) {
         response.setHeader("Cache-Control", "no-cache");
      } else {
         response.setHeader("Cache-Control", "no-cache");
6. XMLHttpRequest object calls callback()
function and processes the result
• The XMLHttpRequest object was configured to call
  the processRequest() function when there is a state
  change to the readyState of the XMLHttpRequest

  function processRequest() {
    if (req.readyState == 4) {
        if (req.status == 200) {
            var message = ...;

7. The HTML DOM is updated
• JavaScript technology gets a reference to any
  element in a page using DOM API
• The recommended way to gain a reference to an
  element is to call
  > document.getElementById("userIdMessage"), where
    "userIdMessage" is the ID attribute of an element appearing in
    the HTML document
• JavaScript technology may now be used to modify
  the element's attributes; modify the element's style
  properties; or add, remove, or modify child elements
1. <script type="text/javascript">
2. function setMessageUsingDOM(message) {
3.    var userMessageElement = document.getElementById("userIdMessage");
4.    var messageText;
5.    if (message == "false") {
6.        userMessageElement.style.color = "red";
7.        messageText = "Invalid User Id";
8.    } else {
9.        userMessageElement.style.color = "green";
10.       messageText = "Valid User Id";
11. }
12. var messageBody = document.createTextNode(messageText);
13. // if the messageBody element has been created simple replace it otherwise
14. // append the new element
15. if (userMessageElement.childNodes[0]) {
16.       userMessageElement.replaceChild(messageBody,
17.                                         userMessageElement.childNodes[0]);
18. } else {
19.       userMessageElement.appendChild(messageBody);
20. }
24. <div id="userIdMessage"></div>
25.</body>                                                                       43
7. AJAX:
Methods & Properties
XMLHttpRequest Methods
• open(“HTTP method”, “URL”, syn/asyn)
  > Assigns HTTP method, destination URL, mode
• send(content)
  > Sends request including string or DOM object data
• abort()
  > Terminates current request
• getAllResponseHeaders()
  > Returns headers (labels + values) as a string
• getResponseHeader(“header”)
  > Returns value of a given header
• setRequestHeader(“label”,”value”)
  > Sets Request Headers before sending
XMLHttpRequest Properties
• onreadystatechange
  > Set with an JavaScript event handler that fires at each state
• readyState – current status of request
  > 0 = uninitialized
  > 1 = loading
  > 2 = loaded
  > 3 = interactive (some data has been returned)
  > 4 = complete
• status
  > HTTP Status returned from server: 200 = OK

XMLHttpRequest Properties
• responseText
  > String version of data returned from the server
• responseXML
  > XML document of data returned from the server
• statusText
  > Status text returned from server

Browser and DOM
• Browsers maintain an object representation of the
  documents being displayed
  > In the form of Document Object Model (DOM)
  > It is readily available as document JavaScript object
• APIs are available that allow JavaScript code to
  modify the DOM programmatically

DOM APIs vs. innerHTML
• DOM APIs provide a means for JavaScript code to
  navigate/modify the content in a page
  function setMessageUsingDOM(message) {
          var userMessageElement = document.getElementById("userIdMessage");
          var messageText;
          if (message == "false") {
              userMessageElement.style.color = "red";
              messageText = "Invalid User Id";
          } else {
              userMessageElement.style.color = "green";
              messageText = "Valid User Id";
         var messageBody = document.createTextNode(messageText);
          if (userMessageElement.childNodes[0]) {
          } else {
DOM APIs vs. innerHTML
• Using innerHTML is easier: Sets or retrieves the HTML
  between the start and end tags of the object
  function setMessageUsingDOM(message) {
          var userMessageElement = document.getElementById("userIdMessage");
          var messageText;
          if (message == "false") {
              userMessageElement.style.color = "red";
              messageText = "Invalid User Id";
          } else {
              userMessageElement.style.color = "green";
              messageText = "Valid User Id";
         userMessageElement.innerHTML = messageText;

Do I Have To Use
XmlHttpRequest to
Write Ajax application?
Ajax Frameworks and Toolkits
• In general, you are going to use Ajax frameworks
  and toolkits
• These toolkits provide higher-level API, which hides
  the complexity of XmlHttpRequest

9. AJAX Security
AJAX Security: Server Side
• AJAX-based Web applications use the same server-
  side security schemes of regular Web applications
  > You specify authentication, authorization, and data protection
    requirements in your web.xml file (declarative) or in your
    program (programatic)
• AJAX-based Web applications are subject to the
  same security threats as regular Web applications
  > Cross-site scripting
  > Injection flaw

AJAX Security: Client Side
• JavaScript code is visible to a user/hacker
  > Hacker can use the JavaScript code for inferring server side
  > Obfustication or compression can be used
• JavaScript code is downloaded from the server and
  executed (“eval”) at the client
  > Can compromise the client by mal-intended code
• Downloaded JavaScript code is constrained by
  sand-box security model
  > Can be relaxed for signed JavaScript
Recommendations from OWASP
•   Use .innerText instead of .innerHtml
•   Don't use eval
•   Encode data before its use
•   Avoid serialization
•   Avoid building XML dynamically

10. JavaScript Development
Tools (Try these tools with
“AJAX Basics & Dev.
Tools” Hands-on Lab)
Development Tools for NetBeans IDE

• Building AJAX Applications over NetBeans is not that
  much different from building regular Web applications
• NetBeans supports JavaScript editor and debugger

Development Tools on Mozilla
• Mozilla FireBug debugger (add-on)
    > This is the most comprehensive and most useful JavaScript
    > This tool does things all other tools do and more
•   Mozilla JavaScript console
•   Mozilla DOM inspector (comes with Firefox package)
•   Mozilla Venkman JavaScript debugger (add-on)
•   Mozilla LiveHTTPHeaders HTTP monitor (similar to
    NetBeans HTTP monitor)

Mozilla FireBug Debugger
• Spy on XMLHttpRequest traffic
• JavaScript debugger for stepping through code one line at
  a time
• Inspect HTML source, computed style, events, layout and
  the DOM
• Status bar icon shows you when there is an error in a web
• A console that shows errors from JavaScript and CSS
• Log messages from JavaScript in your web page to the
  console (bye bye "alert debugging")
• An JavaScript command line (no more "javascript:" in the
  URL bar)
11. AJAX:
Current Issues & Futures
Current Issues of AJAX
• Complexity is increased
  > Server side developers will need to understand that
    presentation logic will be required in the HTML client pages as
    well as in the server-side logic
  > Page developers must have JavaScript technology skills
• AJAX-based applications can be difficult
  to debug, test, and maintain
  > JavaScript is hard to test - automatic testing is hard
  > Weak modularity in JavaScript - namespace collision possible
  > Lack of design patterns or best practice guidelines yet
• Toolkits/Frameworks still maturing
Current Issues of AJAX
• No standardization of the XMLHttpRequest yet
  > Future version of IE will address this
• No support of XMLHttpRequest in old browsers
  > Iframe will help
• JavaScript technology dependency & incompatibility
  > Must be enabled for applications to function
  > Still some browser incompatibilities
• JavaScript code is visible to a hacker
  > Poorly designed JavaScript code can invite security problem

Browsers Which Support
•   Mozilla Firefox 1.0 and above
•   Netscape version 7.1 and above
•   Apple Safari 1.2 and above.
•   Microsoft Internet Exporer 5 and above
•   Konqueror
•   Opera 7.6 and above

AJAX Futures
•   AJAX-enabled JSF Component libraries
•   Standardization of XMLHttpRequest
•   Better browser support
•   Better and Standardized Framework support
•   More best practice guidelines in the programming

AJAX Basics
Sang Shin
Java Technology Architect
Sun Microsystems, Inc.

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